It can also be informally applied in engineering/architectural circles to a facility that is designed to operate without being connected to mains utilities such as power, water or sewerage. Obviously this concept only exists in times and places where being connected is the norm.
Game and Story Use
- If the PCs need to find someone who has decided to live off the grid, they will have a very hard time finding him.
- If the PCs are fugitives from the law, they might need to live like this for a time until they either clear their names or leave the country.
- In some dystopic settings, living off the grid may be the only practicable way for PCs to do anything worthwhile.
- In a cyberpunk settings, or others with a (semi)failed state, being off-grid may be quite common.
- GMs will need to judge carefully how harshly realistic they want to be with the consequences of off-gridding - which may include inability to legally operate a motor vehicle, inability to use the mainstream economy at more than the most transitory level, lack of access to some forms of public transport and even struggles to access communications technology. Some of these can be overcome with false ID … which can be viewed as remaining off-grid on a technicality1.
- Off grid facilities are very useful after the end - if you have your own, independent power and water, the fact that zombies have eaten the people at the utility company becomes less important.